Legal Grounds: April 2009 Archives
Legal Grounds - The FindLaw Legal News with an Attitude Blog

April 2009 Archives

Mr. T Reports for Jury Duty, Gets Passed Over by Judge

Try to Spell 'Justice' Without a 'T', Fool!

When it comes to celebrities and the brushes with government that all citizens face, there are some things that are hard to picture, like Prince standing in line at the DMV. But the city of Chicago was robbed of a civic duty match made in heaven on Monday, when Mr. T reported for jury duty, only to be passed over by the judge.

Mr. T showed up in the halls of Chicago's Cook County Criminal Court in camouflage pants, sounding like a public service announcement you might have heard during a prime-time commercial break in 1985, telling gatherers: "It's not about 'The A-Team', it's the J-Team -- the jury team," according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Appendectomy Do-Over After "Piece of Fat" Removed

Does This Hospital Gown Make My Appendix Look Like Fat?

A Minnesota man who underwent an appendectomy in 2008 had a "piece of fat" removed from his abdomen instead, and the procedure had to be redone after the actual appendix ruptured a short time later, according to a report from the Minnesota Department of Health.

The unidentified patient was discharged from St. Francis Regional Medical Center in Shakopee after the first procedure, and received one of those "are you sitting down?" phone calls from the surgeon shortly afterward, telling him about the mistake. A second surgery was necessary to remove what the Minnesota Department of Health report calls the "true appendix" -- as opposed to that imposter clump of fatty tissue in the "I'm an Appendix" t-shirt that could have fooled anyone the first time around.

Apple Pulls "Baby Shaker" from iPhone App Store

Consumer Disinterest in Pretending to Kill Babies May Be Linked to Economic Downturn

Apple has pulled the controversial Baby Shaker application from its iPhone App store, after a wave of backlash over the program, which sought to liven up the tedium of down time by making virtual infanticide fit neatly into the palm of your hand.

The 99-cent Baby Shaker app, created by a company called Sikalosoft, let iPhone users try to stop a virtual infant from crying by violently shaking their iPhone until two red "x"s appeared over the baby's eyes.

Spelling Errors Found on Road Signs for Lake with 45-Letter Name

You Should See the Size of the Hats in the Lake Gift Shop

Chargoggagoggmanchauggauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg. It may look like the result of someone falling asleep on their keyboard, but it's actually the name of a lake near the town of Webster in central Massachusetts, and it's got a local chamber of commerce scrambling to fix not-so-glaring spelling errors on highway signs.

The Worcester Telegram & Gazette reports that the signs are mistakenly spelled "with an 'o' where a 'u' should be, at letter 20, and an 'h' instead of an 'n' at letter 38." So, the correction will actually lower the lake's Scrabble word value from 134 points to 131.

Song Parody Pits Don Henley Against U.S. Senate Candidate

Henley Puts Recording of "The Eagles Greatest Hits: In Pig-Latin!" On Hold to File Lawsuit

Don Henley, songwriter and founding member of The Eagles, has filed a lawsuit against Chuck DeVore, over the U.S. Senate candidate's uniquely crappy spin on the crappy 1984 song "All She Wants to Do Is Dance."

DeVore, who is vying for Barbara Boxer's U.S. Senate seat, pokes fun at Boxer by re-working the tune as "All She Wants to Do Is Tax" (see lyrics from DeVore's parody on his website).

Domino's Workers Fired, Face Charges Over YouTube Video

"Lock the Door. It's Domino's."

Two Domino's Pizza employees in their formative early-30's have been fired and now face criminal charges after they filmed some gross goings-on in the restaurant kitchen, and then posted the video on a little mom-and-pop operation known as "YouTube.com."

The video shows one of the workers, Michael Setzer, putting cheese up his nose and waving salami slices near his rear end while making a sandwich at a Domino's in Conover, N.C. The other Domino's employee, Kristy Hammonds, filmed the action and can be heard providing descriptive commentary for anyone having difficulty with the intricate twists and turns of the plot.

New Jersey to Require Special Decals on Teens' Cars

"Oh My God, My State-Level Elected Representatives Are So Embarrassing. . ."

That chorus of "whatever"s you're hearing this morning is coming from New Jersey, where Governor Jon Corzine has signed a law that will require drivers under 21 to display an identifying decal on any vehicle they drive. The law is set to go into effect next year, according to the Associated Press.

The director of New Jersey's Division of Highway Safety says that police officers will use the decals to determine if teenagers are violating New Jersey's driving curfew and vehicle passenger restrictions (not to determine who is a total dork).

NBC Wants Blagojevich for "I'm a Celebrity..." Reality Show

Network Hoping "The Hair" Plus Jungle Humidity Equals Ratings Gold

NBC has apparently reached a tentative deal with Rod Blagojevich to have the painfully shy former Illinois governor appear as a cast member on "I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here," or "Who the @#*! is That?", as the show is known informally.

The Chicago Tribune is reporting that Blagojevich would get paid $80,000 per week to appear on the reality show, which is set to start taping on June 1 in the Costa Rican jungle. Blagojevich would join the hollow halls of former "I'm a Celebrity" cast members like "Downtown" Julie Brown, "Stuttering" John Melendez, and Chris "Not a Judd Sister" Judd.

Michael Jackson's Neverland Items Up for Auction

How Much for Macaulay Culkin?

It's the end of an eccentric and vaguely creepy era: Michael Jackson is selling thousands of items from his Neverland Ranch at a Beverly Hills auction set to kick off next week.

Items that can be yours for the right price include a life-size Lego model of Darth Vader, an ice cream cart, and a painting of Jackson as an Elizabethan nobleman, according to the New York Times, which reports that the auction is being held in a former department store due to the size of the collection.

There were legal wranglings earlier this month between Jackson and Julien's Auction House, the company overseeing the sale. The singer had claimed that the auction company had "effectively stolen" his property, as BBC News reports. But the auction is now a go. The N.Y. Times quotes Darren Julien, president of Julien's: "We've recreated Neverland." 

In that case, we'd suggest taking the commission from the sale of E.T.'s poop and finding a good lawyer.    

Drunk "Rambo" Arrested for Shooting Arrows Into Houses

Neighboring Townhomes Hold Still Just Long Enough for Drunk Man's Marksmanship to Impress Drunk Woman

A Minnesota man has been arrested for using a powerful compound bow to fire arrows into the sides of his neighbors' houses. According to local police and prosecutors, the act was fueled by that timeless recipe for success that lurks behind most landmark achievements: alcohol and the desire to impress a woman.

According to the Associated Press, Kyle Kenneth Fletcher's female friend told police that the pair had been up drinking all night before Fletcher took his bow and arrow onto the deck of his Burnsville townhome to "play Rambo," by firing arrows into the siding of other homes in his housing complex. Minnesota's Pioneer Press adds that, according to the Dakota County prosecutor's charges, Fletcher appeared "extremely intoxicated" when questioned, "as did his female friend."

The 30-year-old Fletcher was charged with felony first-degree criminal damage to property. Sounds like someone also had their heart stolen on that townhouse deck, but she's not pressing charges.

UFO Hoaxers Hit with Fines and Community Service in NJ

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The Truth Is Out There: You Two are Morons

Two New Jersey men were assessed fines and ordered to community service this week for trying to prank Morris County and Hanover residents into believing that UFOs were in the area.

Chris Russo, 29, of Morris Plains, and Joe Rudy, 28, of Chester were sentenced for staging a not-so-elaborate hoax in which they tied road flares to helium balloons and set them aloft in a local field. The two ended up calling a local television station themselves to report the "sighting," which is a little like responding to your own online dating profile just so you can say someone did.

"Axe Bomb" Trend Linked to Arson Arrests, Injuries

"Axe Body Spray: It's Not Just an Alternative to Taking a Shower Anymore"

For anyone who has been exposed to fumigation-level amounts of "Axe Body Spray" and wondered how the product can be used for good instead of evil, keep crossing your fingers. But a growing trend among teens exposes a non-traditional (albeit slightly more lethal) use of the popular spray-on deodorant.

Meet the "Axe Bomb", a homemade pyrotechnic invention that uses cans of Axe, lighter fluid, and other combustible material to create a flamethrower or home-made pyrotechnics display.

Shrimp Shortage in Fried Rice Prompts 911 Call

Fortune: Follow Your Instincts This Week and You Will Become a Nationwide Laughingstock 

A Texas woman on Monday called 911 to complain about the amount of shrimp she received in a fried rice dish at a Fort Worth restaurant. According to the Associated Press, on a tape of the 911 call the customer can be heard asking the operator, "to get a police officer up here, what has to happen?" Well, let's see. Not. This.

By the time police officers actually did arrive, the woman had left the scene, taking her meal and its "criminal" shrimp-to-rice ratio with her. 

According to restaurant cook June Lee, there was nothing out of ordinary with the entree. Lee added, "Some customers are happy. Some are not." And some end up as the lead story in the "From the Idiot Files" sections of news websites nationwide.     

UK Media Regulator Blindsided by Explicit Content in "Sexy Girls Next Door"

Playboy Television has been fined by a British media agency for what can only be described as a Trojan-horse style assault on unsuspecting UK living rooms: sneaking sexually explicit and offensive images into programs called "Sexy Girls Next Door", "Sexy Urban Legends", "and "Adult Stars Close-Up." 

According to Reuters, the fine was levied by Ofcom (the UK's answer to the FCC) and amounted to 22,500 pounds -- about $33,000, or what Playboy founder Hugh Hefner likes to call "what I make in the time it takes Miss February to help me put on my diamond-encrusted pajamas."

Cereal Box Typo Sends Callers to Phone Sex Line

Wait Until You See the Prize at the Bottom of the Box

We've all been there, sitting at the kitchen table in the morning, so moved by our cereal experience that we need to call the phone number on the box and just talk it out with someone. But last week, for a few callers looking to connect with the people at Oregon-based Golden Temple's Peace Cereal, a typo in the 1-800 number sent them to a phone sex line, according to the AP.

Mix-ups like this can cause consumers to worry: "What can I do to be prepared if something like this happens to me?"

First, it's important to be confident. Looking good means feeling good, so check yourself out in a mirror. Use the spoon if you have to, but really the only thing you'll see there is a gigantic upside-down nose, so on second thought just go ahead and put the spoon back down.

'I Went to Malawi and All I Got Was This Stupid T-Shirt'

Madonna's bid to adopt a second child from the African country of Malawi was turned away today by that nation's High Court. According to Reuters, the ruling is good news for Malawians who felt that Madonna received special treatment when she was allowed to adopt a 13-month-old boy in 2006. 

Reports that the Material Girl's Plan B included an attempt at adopting the Honorable (and reportedly downright adorable) Judge Chombo were apparently just rumors.